Tyler Perry gives Arnco woman keys to her family's new home

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Atlanta movie producer Tyler Perry, at far right, shares a moment of celebration with 88-year-old Rose Lee Ransby and her seven great-great-grandchildren Friday morning while handing over the Certificate of Occupancy and keys to her new home in Arnco.

By ELIZABETH MELVILLE elizabeth@newnan.com There were cheers of jubilation, clapping, tears and even a "hallelujah." No one was silent Friday morning as Atlanta movie producer Tyler Perry handed 88-year-old Rose Lee Ransby the Certificate of Occupancy and keys to her new home in Arnco.
"I heard 'thank you' a million times," Perry told reporters. "It's good to see the whole community rally around a family. It felt great to be able to do this -- it's our responsibility to pay it forward." For a man often in the Hollywood spotlight, Perry was clearly uncomfortable being the center of attention Friday. He wanted the occasion to be about Ransby and the unmistakable "strength and will" she's demonstrated raising her seven great-great-grandchildren. Her tenacity fueled the Tyler Perry Group to persevere and have the home ready in less than five months, according to Perry. Perry contacted Ransby after a fire destroyed her residence four days before Christmas 2010. Ransby had lived at 223 Arnco Fifth St. with her great-great-grandchildren. She'd lived in the home for 40 years. "I saw the story on the news and volunteered to rebuild this house," said Perry. Perry reached out to the Coweta County Fire Department with his offer to fund the relief effort. "These guys really rallied around the family," said Perry of the firefighters. "I'm happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with them." The producer and actor paid for the reconstruction of Ransby's home in its original location. He also paid for her new furnishings and utilities on a rental home. Ransby, her son, Olin Walker, and her seven great-great-grandchildren will be moving into the five-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot home beginning this weekend. The children are ages 5-18. On Friday at 9 a.m., Perry greeted each of the children with hugs and words of encouragement. He then supported Ransby as the two toured her new home trailed by Ransby's family members. "This is so nice -- I love it," said Ransby, who added that she also enjoys all Perry's movies. "I felt bad because my other house burned up. He made me feel good after he told me he was going to build me a house." Walker toured the house with his mother Friday -- "I love it," he said, eager to move in. Perry told the family that movers were on their way Friday and that furniture was going to be delivered that afternoon. "God bless your family," said Perry. He added that the home was a culmination of a lot of people working together for a common purpose. After the walk-through, Perry told reporters that sharing that moment with Mrs. Ransby's family was "incredible" and made him think about his own mother, who passed in 2009. Perry said he was impressed with Ransby because her only concern after the fire was for her grandchildren -- that they not be separated. "Now they're all here together," said Perry. When asked if he planned to visit the family in the future, Perry joked that he'd be back for a home-cooked meal. "This is just unbelievable -- his kindness is unbelievable," said Coweta Fire Chief Johnny Teeters of Tyler Perry. "This is what it means to give back to the community." Teeters recalled how the local community initially came together for the family with clothing, food and toys at Christmas. "We're thankful for the hearts and souls of the people of the community -- then [Perry] stepped in to do this...," he added. "This is an area hard hit with people in need. This home makes a big statement for the community. The whole fire department feels blessed to be part of this." One of Ransby's great-great-grandchildren, 18-year-old Taylor Walker, told The Times-Herald earlier this year that she couldn't wait to see Perry so she could "give him a big hug and say thank you." She and many others took advantage of that opportunity Friday. "Without him, I don't know where we'd be right now," she said. Perry said his ultimate wish from this experience is that giving would become "contagious." He said he lives by the creed, "To whom much is given, much is required." And, he added, "Every little bit helps."


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